Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 Questions That Always Surprise Me When I Write a Book

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Every time I write a book, I’m surprised by the problems I run into—even though the problems are always the same. And actually, looking at my list of issues, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot I can do to prevent them from cropping up, unless I really wanted to change my approach to writing a book. Maybe that’s why they keep recurring!

5 Questions that Always Pop Up Once While Writing My Books

1. Where do I go next? I’m guessing this is a problem faced more frequently by folks who don’t outline…people like me. Usually I have an idea in my head about where I want to go next with the plot and the characters. But a few times in each book, I have an uhhhh moment where I’m really not sure what I’m writing in the next scene. Or the one after that.

2.What’s this character’s deal? Sometimes my characters aren’t well-behaved. In every book, a character will either try to steal scenes, act out of character, try to change their character, or exhibit a stunning lack of motivation. This is one of those problems I look out for while I’m writing a book—and I fix it when I see it, going forward from that point in the manuscript. Otherwise it can make a huge mess in a story. But I’m always so surprised when it happens!

3. Whodunit? Okay, this is going to be specific to mystery writers—but I don’t usually have a killer planned out until much later in the story. I like it that way because it means that I set up all my suspects as possible murderers. But—it means that at the end of the book I’m going back and forth…and back and forth…and back and forth on the killer’s identity.

4. How am I going to wrap this up? Writing endings is tough for me. Beginnings I like, but wrapping up a book? Ugh. I manage to conveniently forget what a pain it is for me until it’s time for me to write another one.

5. How many more pages are there left to write?! It’s actually pretty easy for me to get overwhelmed when writing--which is why I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about the unwritten pages stretching ahead of me…it’s easy to freak myself out. But I don’t feel overwhelmed when I start a project—but I sure do about a third of the way through.

Maybe forgetting these things is my subconscious way to ensure I keep writing books. Because if I remembered my struggles with this stuff, then I’d probably start a new book with a lot more trepidation than I do.

Are there problems that you always encounter when writing? Do you find that you forget about them in between projects?